Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Susan H.N. Jeno


Conservative Treatment; Rotator Cuff Injuries -- rehabilitation; Shoulder Pain -- therapy


Shoulder pain caused by a rotator cuff tear may inhibit one's ability to perform activities of daily living. Although surgery is a common intervention with this diagnosis, some clients are not surgical candidates or do not wish to undergo surgical intervention leaving conservative treatment as their only option. Therefore, the purpose of this case report is to describe the intervention used in the nonoperative management of a client with a full-thickness rotator cuff tear. The client was a 68 year old male with the diagnosis of a right shoulder rotator cuff tear. The client participated in physical therapy 2 times a week for 4 weeks (8 visits). The intervention consisted of postural education, scapular stabilization exercises, range of motion exercises, and strengthening exercises. This client demonstrated increased shoulder range of motion (ROM) and strength to within functional limits, decreased pain and was able to return to prior functional level to include recreational exercises 2-3 days a week. Conservative, nonoperative management may be an effective method for restoring the function in clients with rotator cuff tears. This case report demonstrates the effectiveness of physical therapy intervention on returning a client who had a full-thickness rotator cuff tear to prior functional activities.